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Langley, British Columbia – The Trinity Western track and field team took yet another foray into the international pool of talent with its latest signing, as Mexican pole vaulter Ivonne Zuniga (Mexicali, Baja California) officially committed to the Spartans Monday.

The 5-foot-4 athlete, who graduated from high school in 2008 from CETYS Preparatoria, has a personal best pole vault of 3.75m, which, if cleared at the 2012 Canada West Championships, would have earned her a share of second place. Most recently, Zuniga finished fourth at the Mexico 2012 Olympic Trials.

“We are becoming a very well rounded team on the women’s side,” said Spartans coach Laurier Primeau. “With the addition of Ivonne we are building our field-event presence, which will impact our standing in both Canada West and the CIS. But getting to know Ivonne as a person is even more relevant to our program and I think that by hearing what she has said about this opportunity, it’s easy to see why we think this will be such a great fit. She is academically gifted and she carries a strong faith which will benefit from the Trinity Western University ethos. We feel this is a win-win signing for our program.”

Since graduating from high school, Zuniga has spent time studying at both the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico and, during the summer of 2011, as part of an international exchange program, at the University of California, Berkley.

“I think that being in a place where you can do what you love – in my case, pole vaulting and marketing – while being surrounded by people who support you and share your love for Christ is truly amazing,” Zuniga said. “I feel that a way to honour God is becoming the best that you can be, and that it’s only possible with Him along the way. So I am coming to Trinity Western because I believe this is the place where I’ll be able to do so.”

Zuniga joins Nathan Goodwin, Nathan George, Liza Whitehead, Rebecca Marchant, Anastasia Pearse, Nick Ayin, Braedon Dolfo, James Linde, Joel De Schiffart, Levi Neufeld, Erin Kokayko, Delyth Harper, Meg Harradine and Tunji Taylor-Lewis as part of the Primeau’s announced 2012 recruiting class.

About Trinity Western Track & Field

This fall Trinity Western will enter its third year back competing in the CIS after a six-year hiatus.

After the Spartans returned to track and field in the fall of 2010, the program has taken huge strides in becoming a competitive group at both the Canada West and CIS levels.

In 2011-12, the Spartans made a triumphant return to both the Canada West and CIS podiums as Trinity Western collected six conference medals and two national medals.

At the CIS Championships, high jumper Emma Nuttall claimed the Spartans first gold medal since 2002 – when Laura Wilson won in the 60m – with a season’s best jump of 1.82m. On that same day, middle distance runner Fiona Benson captured a bronze medal in the 1500m with a time of 4:29.35.

Prior to their double-medal effort at the CIS national championships, the Spartans were also very productive at the Canada West Championships, as Calum Innes (60m) and Benson (1500m) won gold medals, Nuttall (high jump) and Benson (1000m) each captured silver medals and Blair Johnston (1500m) and Jake Powrie (pentathlon) earned bronze medals.

Over their history, the Spartans have a total of seven CIS medals, including two gold medals (Nuttall [high jump] – 2012 and Laura Wilson [60m] – 2002), one silver medal (Ian Sharp [1000m] – 2002) and four bronze medals (Benson [1500m] – 2012, Justin Beanblossom [600m] – 2002 and 2003 and Aleena Zibin [Shot Put] – 2003).